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ASUS Maximus VI Impact Mini ITX Motherboard Review

ASUS Maximus VI Impact Mini ITX Motherboard Review

Testing & Methodology

We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.

The OS we use is Windows 8 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.

Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.

One thing to note is that we are revamping our testing method in order to better represent motherboard performance and offering to you guys the consumer. Also we want to make it an easier read for you without miles of endless charts. Please feel free to provide feedback on what you think as many benchmarks will be shuffled or removed completely.

Test Rig

Test Rig
Case Thermaltake Level 10 GT
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VI Impact
Ram Gskill TridentX 2666MHz
CPU Cooler Swiftech H20-220 Edge
Hard Drive Western DIGItal Velociraptor 300GB
SSD Intel 510 series SATA III 120GB
Optical ASUS BD-ROM
GPU ASUS GTX680 Top
Additional Cards N/A
PSU Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1275W Platinum
Mouse Tt eSPORTS Black gaming mouse
Keyboard Tt eSPORTS Meka G1 mechanical gaming keyboard

Test Suite

We will use the following applications to test the performance of the Motherboard

Benchmarks
SuperPi Mod 1.5
Wprime 1.55
PCMark 7
3DMark 11
Cinebench R11.5
X264HD
Truecrypt 7.1
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Metro 2033
Batman Arkham City
Sniper Elite V2

Overclocking

The Z87 Platform is a totally different animal in terms of overclocking here. The Haswell Processor (4770K in this case) can run very hot when clocking which means you gotta have some good cooling if your pushing the limits. Luckily for us, we have access to everything up to LN2 to test with but in reality as most users reading this will never venture that far past liquid cooling we try to keep it rather pedestrian in comparison with a custom 240mm radiator liquid cooling setup. It has worked very well with SB, SB-E, IVB and so on, but we must say Haswell definitely put it to the test.

Raising the multiplier is your quickest way to overclock the CPU which with some small voltage tweaks we were able to get to my testing speed of 4.6GHz and with not a huge amount of voltage but it should be noted that even at 4.6 which we consider to be a modestly high overclock for 24/7 usage it definitely runs much hotter than Ivy Bridge (3770K) and mind you that is to no fault of the board but more so to the design of the CPU itself in which you get the extra thermal dump.

The Maximus VI Impact is a great clocker and ASUS holds true to the statement that from top to bottom of the stack they design the boards to overclock similarly. The Impact easily pulled into our testing frequency and had no issue pushing past that.

I have seen some professional overclockers with some hands on time with the board pulling some very impressive memory clocks on LN2 with the Impact board and being that the board is absolutely tiny yet can overclock like a beast is yet again a amazement.

Overall the Impact is just as capable of an overclocker as the Formula or the Hero from what I have seen although I could imagine that when pushing the limits on the CPU you may find that it may not push as far as lets say the Extreme board but that is pure speculation on my part and the fact that Haswell is mostly limited by luck with CPU I am betting this board for most every user even extreme will be limited by the chip or IMC mostly.

Temperatures

The temperatures were recorded with RealTemp while running wPrime 1024 right before the end of the 5th run. The results were recorded carefully. After the results were recorded, we waited for 30 minutes before taking Idle temperature measurements. The results were as follows:

CPU Temperatures Temperature (Idle/Load)
ASUS Maximus VI Impact OC (4.6GHz) 31C/70C
ASUS Maximus VI Impact 29C/60C
Chipset Temperatures Temperature (Idle/Load)
ASUS Maximus VI Impact OC (4.6GHz) 35C/41C
ASUS Maximus VI Impact 29C/37C

The reason temps may look a little lower than seen elsewhere online is that We are using a custom liquid cooling loop compliments of Swiftech which helps us reach an area of much higher headroom for overclocking and performance testing.

Power Consumption

Power_Consumption

The power consumption was tested while running Wprime 1024 for a few minutes at stock settings. The results were recorded carefully with a Kill-A-Watt power consumption measuring tool at the wall. After the results were recorded, we waited for yet another few minutes minutes before taking Idle power consumption measurements.

power consume

The power consumption is measured without a GPU installed but the iGPU loaded to see what the best representation of peak power consumption you can expect. The Impact board pulls a bit more over the Intel board which for a tiny board may seem like a surprise but when you consider that the board has a lot stuck onto it, it does make sense.

Performance Benchmarks

PCmark 7

pcm7

Here with PCMark 7 we see similar performance tuning benefits to what we saw with the other ROG Boards.

3DMark 11

3d11x

The Impact once again shows as a very strongly tuned performer able to keep up and even surpass other Z87 platforms.

SuperPi

superpi

Superpi being a single threaded efficiency measure I am happy to see that once again the ROG tuning is well intact with excellent performance from even this mITX model.

Wprime

wprime

WPrime is similar to Superpi, but is multi core aware and you can set the core count. We used 8 cores to take advantage of the 4770K’s HyperThreading ability. Here the Impact shows its muscle as well pulling some very good performance numbers.

Cinebench R11.5

“CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more. MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based). The resulting values among different operating systems are 100% comparable and therefore very useful with regard to purchasing decision-making. It can also be used as a marketing tool for hardware vendors or simply to compare hardware among colleagues or friends.”

cbr115
Here you can see where the high-end rendering work can be done. There are some definite improvements on the x86 processing, but when looking at the OpenGL rendering, you see almost a 30% increase, which is very good and speaks highly for what the HD4600 is capable of.

X264HD

x264hd

Transcoding has become more popular now and the latest Sandy Bridge processor added support for AVX instruction for faster video transcoding. With that you can see that going from Ivy Bridge to Haswell can net you some very good gains, especially a 2FPS gain on 2 Pass. This tells us that overall optimizations to the new platform are present and working very well.

Truecrypt 7.1

truecrypt

TrueCrypt is a real world application that gives a good indication of the true performance of our latest processor. Here the new Core i7 4770K puts some definite room between itself and the outgoing 3770K with over a 22% performance increase, which means in the same time you can get a lot more work done.

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.

heaven

Unigine Heaven on a discrete GTX 680 gains about a single FPS, probably just due to the expanded performance with the overclock. For the most part, however, recent platforms are so efficient that there simply is no bottleneck for current gen card models.

Metro 2033

metro 2033

Once again, Metro 2033 shows that discrete GPU performance is relatively unaffected, simply due to the fact that there is already so much unused bandwidth available.

Batman Arkham City

batman AC

Discrete GPU results once again hover without huge movement as the bandwidth is unsaturated for PCIe 3.0.

Sniper Elite V2

sniper elite V2

The Impact shows great gaming performance in the Sniper Elite V2 but as you can see once again the efficiency when compared to other Z87s as the load from gaming is mostly on the GPU and the bandwidth from the system is plenty high enough as to not bottleneck the card.

Our Final Thoughts

And yet again ROG has found a way to impress with a strong market offering in the Maximus VI Impact.

The board offers all of the features of its big brothers but in such a compact offering its almost hard to believe.

The Daughterboards in place throughout the board make for the ability to offer super high end wireless connectivity, extreme audio solution and even a full extreme designed VRM where normally there simply would not be room.

The immense feature set and excellent overclocking prowess has made the Impact a board to be reckoned with and one that will likely please not just overclockers but extreme SFF gaming builders for some time to come.

The Pro’s: Cons
  • Intel Gigabit LAN
  • High end SupremeFX audio solution
  • Super Strong Digi+ III VRM components
  • WiFi AC Compatibility
  • NGFF port
  • Extensive IO connectivity
  • new clean UEFI with cool feature set
  • Newly designed software
  • Black caps work and look awesome
  • Onboard header for OC Panel
  • T-Topology V2
  • SSD Secure Erase
  • ROG RamDisk
  • Highest Priced ITX Z87
Introduction - ASUS Maximus VI Impact The ASUS Z87 series is far from over as something we have today is something people have been asking for some time for ASUS to produce. Being as the PC world is going through a trend of smaller systems it started with lanBox style systems and mATX boards and now many are moving to even smaller mITX form factors. Today we have the Maximus VI Impact which is the first ROG mITX offering and I can honestly say just looking at the board and the features it offers if…

Review Overview

Performance - 9
Value - 8.5
Quality - 9.5
Features - 10
Innovation - 10

9.4

Summary : The Maximus VI Impact is an extremely impressive entry as the ITX market has been waiting for a board of this caliber and ASUS finally made it happen and in traditional ROG form and flair!

9

2 comments

  1. This really looks like a great board and a perfect buy for my needs, but I really dislike that you need Java installed on your machine to be able to configure it. Besides screwing up the DPC (which is critical as I produce and DJ music) it is also the biggest backdoor and security risk you can have.

    It is almost beyond stupidity and carelessness for security and their customers that Asus forces you to install such software package with such a bad track record as Java. When almost all vendors and websites has stopped using it (for very good reasons) – Asus does the oposite and starts using it. Wierd.

    I was almost sure this was the perfect fully featured board for my mini-ITX build until I read that it needs Java installed. Too bad I have to search for another board, and I am not sure I will find anyone this such good hardware as this one (looks really awesome otherwise).

    br,
    martin

    • you dont need java installed, dont know where you got this from. that is just for
      the software from asus that installs new drivers when available which really
      you dont need and can search manually on their site. In fact this is the best
      m-itx board available!!!

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